Extracts From The Tribute To The Late Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs

Those of us who knew him will remember Chief Justice Isaacs as a thoroughly decent, humane, engaging, courteous, thoughtful and genuine man who served his country and his people for over 24 years as a competent, influential and accomplished jurist. He started his judicial career in 1994 as an Assistant Registrar of the Supreme Court and worked his way through the judiciary to become the highest judicial officer in our Commonwealth – The Chief Justice and head of the Judicature, the third branch of Government under the Constitution.

………Stephen’s professional journey from a young lawyer at the Bar in private practice to his move to the public service as an Assistant Registrar and his subsequent ascendency through the ranks of the judiciary to become a Justice of the Supreme Court, then a Senior Justice and ultimately the Chief Justice is the quintessential success story for the lawyer. His life and career will serve as an inspiration to Bahamians throughout our country as a real life example of how, notwithstanding the challenges and vicissitudes of life, we can all achieve our aspirations and positively impact those around us and the development of our nation……..

…..In presiding at court hearings [Chief Justice Isaac’s] demeanour was placid, his tone was cordial, his dealings with both counsel and litigant were respectful, his management of his court room was efficient and his control of the proceedings was firm, disciplined and temperate. Above all, he was fair in the sense of being open minded, impartial and independent.

…….Chief Justice Isaacs had a commendable grasp of legal principles across a wide cross section of the law. He was grounded by an innate sense of fairness and justice which served him well as a judge. His well-developed understanding of the milieu in which he lived combined with his experience and working knowledge of the law were reflected in very sound judicial decisions.

He adjusted seamlessly to the era of judge driven case management and because of his experience he adroitly managed a large volume of cases through the interlocutory stages to trial or earlier resolution…..

……. We have lost, all too soon, a notable, competent, experienced and respected Bahamian jurist who enhanced the public trust and confidence in our legal system. It has been stated that the Judge is the pillar of our entire judicial system. In that regard, Chief Justice Isaacs was a strong, reliable and steadfast pillar who significantly contributed to the preservation of the administration of justice in The Bahamas and the development of our jurisprudence. Our system is better off for his public service and we who knew Stephen Isaacs can learn from his quiet dignity, his temperate disposition, his passionate commitment to justice, his unfailing fairness, his humanity and his humility in wearing the privilege and power of high judicial office without ever succumbing to pomposity or arrogance.

By Brian M. Moree QC
September, 2018.